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TimBall "Hungry for the Truth" (Preston,Lancs, UK)

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Leviticus: 3 (Communicator's Commentary: Old Testament)
Leviticus: 3 (Communicator's Commentary: Old Testament)
by Gary W. Demarest
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best "Simple" Commentary on Leviticus., 12 Sep 2009
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The first Commentary I tried on Leviticus was by Andrew Bonar in the Geneva Series by Banner of Truth. Despite excellent reviews, I gave up about 2/3 of the way through because of the dated and prosy style of writing, (it was written in 1846). Since then I have been looking for a simple yet thorough commentary on this book, especially for devotional reading. This volume ticked most of the boxes. I actually found myself enjoying a Commentary on Leviticus! It is very readable. Another plus is the inclusion of the full biblical text,(NKJV). Sadly it suffers from the problem common to so many commentaries I have read, of ending with a "sprint finish". Chapter 26, Blessings and Curses, which is possibly one of the most fascinating in the book and about which much could surely be written in its outworking in the subsequent history of Israel, was covered in under 4 pages!
Overall though, I rate it highly for this level of commentary. It was so good that I was sorry to finish and wished that the author had been given more space for more detail throughout.


Exodus (NIV Application Commentary)
Exodus (NIV Application Commentary)
by Peter E. Enns
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.46

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Left wanting more...., 4 Sep 2009
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As with the first volume in this series, there is a strong sense that the author was writing to a strict size constraint. The intro and first 25 Chapters are given 505pages, whilst the last 15 chapters are barely covered in only 94 pages, (including the Tabernacle, the Priesthood, the Golden Calf episode and Moses intercession and "seeing" God.) As the 94 pages include the full NIV text, the Original Meaning, Bridging Contexts AND Contempory Significance sections, it felt VERY abbreviated.
This isn't to say this is a poor Commentary, it isn't but it could have been SO much better given more space and detail.(It wouldn't have been given a rating of "7" by "BestComms" if it had been poor.)

I have read six others in this series so far, (Genesis, Isaiah, Matthew, Mark, Acts and Romans), and rate them all highly as intro/intermediate level Commentaries.
This is the first one where I agree with the common criticism of the series, that the "Original Meaning" section is too light. However, on the plus side, I found this to have the best "Bridging Context" section. The first one to make real use of this section as I think the publishers intended it to be. Also it is written in an easy to read, narrative style, (as they all have been.)
There is a strong emphasis that Jesus has replaced Israel, as the "New Israel", which I haven't found in this series before.

Where the meaning of a passage is uncertain, or where there are several views held, (which is often), rather than giving the possible alternatives, the author prefers not to enter into ANY kind of "speculation", which means too many subjects aren't even discussed. I found this unsatisfactory.
In conclusion, fairly good, (just 4*), but not great.


Genesis (NIV Application Commentary)
Genesis (NIV Application Commentary)
by John H. Walton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.86

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing Approach, 17 Aug 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed, and was challenged by this commentary.
After a 45 page Introduction and Outline, the author spends the next 200 pages in some depth on the first three chapters of Genesis.
Instead of the usual "structural" viewpoint,the Genesis Creation Account is seen as the establishing of "functions" and the installation of "functionaries", to bring order out of a non-functional, (chaotic) state. This approach bypasses most of the young/old earth creationists arguments, although with my inherent Western worldview, I found it quite difficult to stay tuned and totally lose the "structural" slant.
The author spends a lot of time comparing and contrasting the "Genesis Account" with other Ancient Near East acounts, (refered to as the genre of Myths). It is however written from a conservative evangelic viewpoint.
The author stresses that the narrative can only be understood by reading it from, as far as is possible, the original audience's point of view. This is done very well, but it does limit the possibility that God is able to have intended His message to "grow" with the understanding of the audience.
The weakest section is the treatment of The Flood narrative, which I felt left far too many questions unanswered.
Over the treatment of chapters 12 - 50 there seems to be a problem of diminishing space. The 15 chapters on Abraham are dealt with in 150 pages, the 12 chapters on Jacob in 100 pages and the final 14 chapters on Joseph only have 85 pages, one section including 10 chapters together. The commentary is 727 pages long, but 900+ would have been better.
Hence my 4* rating and not quite 5*,


Isaiah (NIV Application Commentary)
Isaiah (NIV Application Commentary)
by John N. Oswalt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.90

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good Overview of Isaiah., 15 Jun 2009
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I like this series for "devotions", and this volume on Isaiah by John Ostwalt, is one of the best I've read so far in it. All this series provides the full NIV text to each "section", and covers, Original meaning, Bridge Context and Contempory Application. It isn't a verse by verse commentary and I would have preferred more detail in the exegesis, but it does give a very helpful "Broad Brush" approach to Isaiah without getting lost in minutia. As with most of this series it is Conservative Evangelical in Theology.
John Oswalt has also written the highly acclaimed 2 volume Commentary on Isaiah in the NICOT series, so he has much experience to draw on.


Revelation (Expositor's Bible Commentary)
Revelation (Expositor's Bible Commentary)
by Alan F. Johnson
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Readable and Helpful, 16 April 2009
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The author manages to get the balance just right for me. Neither too scholarly nor too light. Other conservative evangelic views are cited for the difficult passages and his choice given. I found myself largely agreeing with him. His view tends to be that, "Revelation is (mostly) symbolic, in the language of universal reality having many historic counterparts and one final (major) fulfillment".
At only 207 pages it covers a lot of ground very concisely, very readably, without avoiding the difficult issues.
If I could have given 4 1/2 stars I would, as being an "outprint" from Volume 12 of the Expositor's Bible Commentary, it comes without a bibliography or an index and the paper it is printed on is poor. As the full Expositor's, "Hebrews - Revelation" can be bought s/h for only a little more, I would recommend you getting that rather than this volume, or even the newer Revised version with the higher rated Hebrews Commentary by R. T. France (rather than Mounce), although it isn't cheap.
It left me wishing I could find more commentaries by Alan F. Johnson, but I could only find this, and 1 Cor in the IVPNTC series, by him.


Acts: An Introduction and Survey (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries)
Acts: An Introduction and Survey (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries)
by I. Howard Marshall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.67

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Falls between two stools, 4 April 2009
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This volume has been highly rated (by Best Commentaries, and others), often alongside John Stott's, The Message of Acts by BST, as the best short commentary available. I have been disappointed.
I would have liked to have had the Bible text to follow, although this absence is common in many commentaries.
In the preface the author states his intention to address some of the "higher criticism" of much modern scholarship. In practise I have found this to be annoying and detracted from what I had hoped would be a faith building work, leading me to greater insight into God's ways and ultimately to worship. It neither inspires me nor greatly informs me. Perhaps I expected too much?
I find this commentary strangely "flat", too basic, and with not enough background material or insights to satisfy me.
Some of the comments also make me wince, as on pg90, concerning the believers having all things in common, "It may well be that in the first flush of religious enthusiasm, the early church lived in this kind of way...", and concerning Peter's speech following the healing of the man lame from birth, "If what follows represents what Luke thought that (Peter) probably would say, rather than being a summary of his remarks, it certainly catches the spirit of the occasion". This style does nothing to build my faith, and I would at least have expected the insight that Jesus, in His Temple ministry, must have passed this man every day. It isn't mentioned.
On the positive side, this book is easy to read, the material is accessible and I don't have the same theological problems with it that I have with John Stott's treatment of The Holy Spirit in, "The Message of Acts".
If you want the polemic interaction, Ben Witherington III's, 875 pg, "The Acts of the Apostles (A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary)" is very highly rated. For a faith building commentary with the insights and inspiration, I'd also look elsewhere .


Prophets of the Apocalypse: The Bible's Ultimate Revelations for the End of Time
Prophets of the Apocalypse: The Bible's Ultimate Revelations for the End of Time
by David Haggith
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's the Scripture speak for itself, 7 Mar 2009
I thoroughly recommend this book. Don't be put off by the "Hal Lindsey" sensationalist style cover that the publisher has thought fit to burden it with, it deserves better. I have read many books on this subject and this is the one I keep returning to. Unlike the majority of writers on this subject, David Haggith is one of those rare authors who doesn't appear to have an axe to grind with reference to a preconceived eschatology, (that tries to make everything fit,even when it doesn't!), he simply allows the material to speak for itself. Full text cross references to other relevent Scriptures and non Biblical material is widely used. If this means that not everything can be clearly pigeon-holed in a precise sequence of events, then so be it. To quote,from pg 351," The Apocalypse was not written to enable an enlightened few to forecast world events; it was written to help Jesus' followers (of all centuries) to keep the true faith when evil times are ready to devour them and when false doctrines corrupt the truth. That's why it begins with letters to encourage seven persecuted churches and to correct them for wandering from the perfect truth. So until the course of human events reveals the correct understanding of these prophecies, the (final) identity of Babylon the Great, and the Antichrist and all doomesday scenarios are mere speculation."
That's not to say that a lot of very relevent information about them can't be found in Scripture, and the author does a very good job of covering that.
I especially like the way he reveals the possibility of the multiple fulfillment of many prophecies until the final time when Jesus returns.
There are more, and helpful reviews of this book under its original title "End time prophecies of the Bible" on the Amazon.COM site.


What St Paul Really Said
What St Paul Really Said
by Tom Wright
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Whole Truth!, 20 Jun 2008
When I first read this book I thought it was refreshing and true, and written in Tom Wright's usual easily accessible form. Then I was lent a copy of John Piper's excellent, "The Future of Justification; A response to N. T. Wright". It was a case of Proverbs 18:17, "He who states his case first seems right, until another comes and examines him." In a very clear and gentle way, John Piper exposes the rather "flimsy" scriptural and non-scriptural evidence on which Tom Wright's views are based and shows that when you view the whole of the evidence, in context, a very different picture emerges. You need to read both to get a balanced view of what is at the heart of the, "New Perspective"/Traditional Evangelical debate.


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